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 Jennie Augusta Brownscombe  (1850 - 1936)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: genre, historical, portrait, figure, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe
from Auction House Records.
In Anticipation of the Invitation
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Jennie Brownscombe is noted for historical genre including scenes of the Revolutionary War and Colonial America such as an interior at the White House titled "Dolly Madison's Ball" and paintings of the life of George and Martha Washington.  Her most famous painting is "The First Thanksgiving", which is now in the Museum of Pilgrim Treasures in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

In 1871, after having been a teacher for a period of time, she went to New York City and graduated from the School for Design for Women of the Cooper Union.  She then studied four years at the National Academy of Design and was a founder and teacher of the Art Students League.

In Paris, she studied with American artist, Henry Mosler, and from 1886 to 1895, maintained a studio in Rome where she spent part of each year. Her Catskill Mountain studio mate, close friend and long-time influence on her painting was Henry Hall until his death in 1913.

Her illustrations were widely published: Scribner's Magazine, Harpers Weekly and Louis Prang cards and calendars, and her watercolors were popular as well as her oils. She exhibited with the Water Color Society in Rome.

Brownscombe was a member of the National Association of Women Artists and the National Art Club.

Paul Sternberg, Sr. Art by American Women
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe was born on Dec. 10th 1850 in a log cabin near Honesdale, PA. the only daughter of William and Elvira (Kennedy) Brownscombe.  She began to draw pictures as a child and while in grade school she exhibited paintings at the Wayne Country Fair, where they won ribbons.  After her father's death she went to the Cooper Institute (later Cooper Union) School of Design, where she studied under Victor Nehlig.  She later took classes at the National Academy of Design with Lemuel E. Wilmarth and at the Art Students League in NYC.  She went abroad to study with Henry Mosler, an American genre painter working in Brittany.  An eye injury suffered soon after her return to the states in 1883 kept her from painting for a year.  She was a specialist in genre scenes of early American history and this is what she became best known for.

Her association with genre and still-life painter George Henry Hall is credited to have improved her style and color technique.  Under his tutelage her craftsmanship improved and she developed the more mature style she is known for today.  She became very popular with magazines, calendar firms and publishers of prints who began to seek her out, and such pictures as "Loves Young Dream" and "Sunday Morning in Sleepy Hollow" were widely reproduced in photogravures, etchings and engravings, over one hundred prints were copyrighted.

It was during the 1890's, influenced by childhood stories and a revival of interest in America's past that she turned to historical subjects.  Paintings with themes such as "The Peace Ball" Washington introducing Rochambeau and Lafayette to his mother after the Yorktown victory and "The First American Thanksgiving" would occupy her for her entire career.  During the twenties she painted several portraits to supplement her modest income.  A working artist until the end of her life, at the age of seventy-six despite a stroke, she painted "Children Playing in an Orchard" for the Lincoln School in Honesdale, PA.  Brownscombe was a member of the National Arts Club and the New York Municipal Art Society, as well as the American Scenic and Historical Preservation Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the May Flower Descendants.

Her works were exhibited at the Art Students League, the Royal Academy, Rome Watercolor Society; she also exhibited in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.  She lived simply with no companion or servant.  At the age of eighty-five she died in New York City of atrophy of the brain with cardiac complications.  She was buried beside her parents in Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale.

Blake Benton Fine Art

AskART note: Most sources cite a birth date of 1850; however the Who's Who of  1933 cites a birth date of  1851.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Jennie Brownscombe is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
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